A disorder known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) alters a woman’s hormone levels.
Male hormones are produced in greater quantities than usual by women with PCOS. Their bodies skip menstruation due to this hormone imbalance, which also makes it more difficult for women to conceive.
Baldness and facial and body hair development are additional effects of PCOS. Furthermore, it may exacerbate chronic health issues including diabetes and heart disease.
The hormone imbalance can be corrected and symptoms improved with the use of birth control tablets and diabetic medications (which fight insulin resistance, a sign of PCOS).
Continue reading to learn about the potential causes of PCOS and how a woman’s body may be affected by it.
What does PCOS mean?
PCOS is a hormonal condition that primarily affects women between the ages of 15 and 44 who are fertile. PCOS affects between 2.2% and 26.7% of women in this age range.
Many women are unaware that they have PCOS. Up to 70% of women with PCOS in one research had not received a diagnosis.
The reproductive organs in women that produce the hormones progesterone and oestrogen, which control the menstrual cycle, are called ovaries, and they are impacted by PCOS. A tiny quantity of androgens, or male hormones, are also produced by the ovaries.
The ovaries secrete eggs for sperm from men to fertilise. Ovulation is the monthly release of an egg.
Ovulation is regulated by luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which are produced in the pituitary gland.
The ovary produces a follicle, or sac containing an egg, when FSH stimulates it, and the ovary releases a mature egg when LH stimulates it.
Symptoms of PCOS
For some women, symptoms appear around the time of the first menstruation. Some people don’t realise they have PCOS until they’ve experienced significant weight gain or difficulty getting pregnant.
Among the most typical signs of PCOS are:
Irregular Periods. The monthly removal of the uterine lining is hindered by non-ovulation. Less than eight periods or none at all are experienced by some PCOS-affected women.
Heavy bleeding. If you do experience periods, they may be thicker than usual since the uterine lining thickens over an extended period of time.
Development of hair. Over 70% of females suffering from this ailment experience facial and body hair growth, encompassing areas such as the back, abdomen, and chest. The term for excessive hair growth is hirsutism.
Headaches. Some women experience headaches as a result of hormonal changes.
Acne. Male hormones can lead to breakouts on the face, chest, and upper back in addition to oilier than usual skin.
Gaining weight. Eighty percent or more of women with PCOS are obese or overweight.
Skin tone darkening. In creases of the body such as those under the breasts, in the groin, and on the neck, dark patches of skin might appear.
The effects of PCOS on the body
Higher-than-normal androgen levels can have an impact on other areas of your health, including fertility.
You must ovulate in order to become pregnant. Infrequent ovulation reduces the number of eggs released for fertilisation. One of the main reasons why women are infertile is PCOS.
Up to 80% of women with PCOS are obese or overweight. Obesity and PCOS both raise your chance of:
- elevated blood sugar
- elevated blood pressure
- Low “good” cholesterol (HDL)
- elevated “bad” LDL cholesterol
These elements collectively refer to as metabolic syndrome, and they raise the risk of:
- diabetes, heart disease, and stroke
Apnea in sleep
This illness results in frequent breathing pauses during the night, which disrupts sleep.
Women who are overweight are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea, particularly if they also have PCOS. Women with PCOS who are also obese have a five to ten times increased risk of sleep apnea than women without PCOS.
The lining of the uterus sheds during ovulation. Should you fail to ovulate each month, the lining may accumulate.
Your risk of endometrial cancer may rise if your uterine lining thickens.
Your emotions can be adversely affected by symptoms such as undesirable hair growth and hormonal changes. Anxiety and despair are common outcomes for PCOS patients.
How to Diagnose PCOS
Women with at least two of these three symptoms are usually diagnosed with PCOS by doctors:
- high amounts of androgen
- irregular cycles of menstruation
- the ovaries’ cysts
- Inquire with your doctor about any past experiences with symptoms such as weight gain, acne, and facial and body hair development.
A pelvic exam can detect issues with your ovaries or other reproductive system components. Using gloved fingers, your doctor probes your vagina to look for growths in your uterus or ovaries.
Tests on the blood look for male hormone levels that are greater than usual.
In order to assess your risk for associated diseases including diabetes and heart disease, your blood may also be tested for triglycerides, insulin, and cholesterol.
Sound waves are used in an ultrasound to search for abnormal follicles and other issues with your uterus and ovaries.
Maternity and PCOS
The regular menstrual cycle is disrupted by PCOS, which also makes conception more difficult. Fertility issues affect between 70 and 80 percent of individuals with PCOS.
Pregnancy problems may also be more likely in this case.
Premature birth is twice as common in PCOS-affected women than in non-PCOS-affected women. Additionally, they have a higher chance of gestational diabetes, hypertension, and miscarriage.
However, fertility therapies that enhance ovulation can help PCOS-affected women become pregnant. Lowering blood sugar and losing weight can increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.
Dietary and lifestyle recommendations for PCOS
A PCOS treatment plan often begins with dietary adjustments, exercise, and weight loss.
Even a small weight loss of 5 to 10 percent can help control your menstrual cycle and lessen the symptoms of PCOS. Losing weight can also
- Improve cholesterol levels
- lessen insulin
- lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease
Any diet that aids in weight loss can benefit your health. Still, there might be benefits to some diets over others.
Low-carb diets are useful for reducing insulin levels and helping people lose weight, according to studies comparing PCOS diets.
More effective at regulating the menstrual cycle than a standard weight loss diet is a low glycemic index (GI) diet that sources the majority of its carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
According to a few studies, women with PCOS can lose weight by engaging in moderate-intensity exercise for 30 minutes a day, three days a week. Exercise-induced weight loss enhances insulin production and ovulation.
When exercise and a nutritious diet are combined, the benefits are much greater. In addition to lowering your chances of diabetes and heart disease, diet and exercise together help you lose more weight than each intervention alone.
Further research is necessary, although there is some indication that acupuncture may be able to improve PCOS.
In summary, PCOS can cause irregular menstrual periods in women and increase the difficulty of conceiving. Male hormone excess can also cause undesirable side effects including body and facial hair development.
The initial PCOS therapies that doctors advise are lifestyle changes, and they frequently have positive results.
Losing weight can help with PCOS symptoms and increase fertility. There are two efficient strategies to lose weight: diet and aerobic activity.
If altering one’s lifestyle proves unsuccessful, medication may be an option. Metformin and birth control pills can both help PCOS symptoms and return more regular menstrual cycles.
(All data resources are from trusted sites)